I recently took some time combing through the public disclosure statements for Alberta MLAs, and I noticed some MLAs own rental properties. When I cross checked that with expense claims, I noticed that 17 of them expensed housing costs in Edmonton, despite having income from these rental properties.
The highest amount claimed by these MLAs worked out to be $6,755 per month in the last quarter, while the lowest was $737.60.
Oddly, 6 of these MLAs each claimed $7,720 in the fourth quarter of the most recent fiscal year, and 3 each claimed $5,790.
Drew Barnes, the MLA for Cypress–Medicine Hat, for example, has 10 properties in Medicine Hat, 1 in Calgary, and 1 in Victoria. There are also 3 properties in Yorkton, 1 in Redlciff, 3 in Maple Creek, 1 in Regina, and 4 in Swift Current—one of which is an 12-unit apartment building—all in his spouse’s name. So, 32 housing units in all (33, if you count the one someone claims he failed to disclose to the ethics commissioner). That seems like it’d be enough to generate significant rental income. Despite that, however, he claimed $21,420 during the past fiscal year for his Edmonton accommodation allowance. In the last quarter, he claimed $5,615 on accommodations, which works out to about $1,871.67 per month.
Mike Ellis, MLA for Calgary–West, also has a rental property in Calgary. He claimed $22,195 last year in Edmonton accommodation allowance, $7,720 in the last quarter, which works out to $2,573.33 per month.
Peter Guthrie, MLA for Airdrie–Cochrane, claimed $20,414.02 last year in Edmonton accommodation allowance. Last quarter, he claimed $7,720, which is oddly the same amount Ellis claimed last quarter. He owns 2 rental properties in Calgary.
David Hanson, MLA for Bonnyville–Cold Lake–St. Paul, also claimed $7,720 last quarter in the Edmonton accommodation allowance, and $22,195 for all of last year. He owns a rental property in St. Paul County.
Nathan Horner, MLA for Drumheller–Stettler, has a rental property in Calgary through his spouse. He also rents pasture land. He also claimed the Edmonton accommodation allowance, but lower than the 4 others listed above—$19,250.89. He claimed $5,400 last quarter: $1,800 a month.
Adriana LaGrange, MLA for Red Deer–North, has rental income through a trailer she and her spouse rent out on their farm. She claimed $21,893.65 last year for the Edmonton accommodation allowance, $5,790 last quarter—$1,930 per month.
Nicholas Milliken, MLA for Calgary- Currie, owns 2 rental properties, one through his company, Brolly Recruitment Ltd. Last year, he claimed $12,194.19 for the Edmonton accommodation allowance, including $5,140.46 ($1,713.49 per month) in the last quarter.
Nathan Neudorf, MLA for Lethbridge–East, owns 2 rental properties: one in Coaldale and one resort condo rental property in Hawaii. He claimed $21,878.76 in Edmonton accommodation allowance, including $6,755 ($2,251.67 per month) last quarter.
Jeremy Nixon, MLA for Calgary–Klein, has 2 rental properties in Calgary. Like so many others, he also claimed $7,720 last quarter in Edmonton accommodation allowance and $22,392.24 last year.
Ron Orr, MLA for Lacombe–Ponoka, has 2 rental properties in Ponoka and 2 rental properties in Lacombe. Last year, he claimed $15,587.20 in the Edmonton accommodation allowance, $3,802.70 last quarter, which works out to $1,267.57 a month.
Pat Rehn, MLA for Lesser Slave Lake, owns property through his company Precision Forest Industries in Debolt, AB; Bonanza, AB; Sunset House, AB; High Prairie, AB; and Joussard, AB. He derives income through these properties via “client services”. His company also owns a commercial property in the St. John’s area. He claimed $22,195 last year in Edmonton accommodation allowance, 91.3% of which was claimed in just the last quarter ($6,755 a month). Must be a pretty nice place he stays at in Edmonton.
Rajan Sawhney, MLA for Calgary–North East and minister of community and social services, owns a rural rental property through her spouse. She claimed $19,792 in Edmonton accommodation allowance, $5,790 of which was spent in the final quarter—the same amount LaGrange claimed in her last quarter.
Mark Smith, MLA for Drayton Valley–Devon, owns rental property in California. In the final quarter of the most recent fiscal year, Smith was another MLA to claim $5,790 in Edmonton accommodation allowance. For the entire fiscal year, he claimed $19,941.29.
Tany Yao, MLA for Fort McMurray–Wood Buffalo, has 2 rental properties: 1 in Fort McMurray and 1 in Edmonton. He claimed $22,195 in the Edmonton accommodation allowance and $9,650 in the last quarter. That’s $3,216.67 a month.
Now, it makes sense that MLAs who don’t live in Edmonton would claim accommodation expenses while they’re staying in Edmonton. After all, government responsibilities require you to have a place to live when you’re there, and often MLAs lose income when they put their regular jobs on hold after getting elected.
But rental income doesn’t get put on hold. People still need a place to live, and they’re still going to pay their rent. Which means that you as a landlord will still collect that rent. And maybe you’re only breaking even if you have only one property—which 8 of them do—or at least not making enough to cover a second home in Edmonton.
Some of the above MLAs own multiple properties, however, which means they probably have significant levels of passive income. Maybe even enough to pay for the cost of a second home in Edmonton.